Sophie says Prince Philip's death left 'giant-sized hole' in Royal Family

·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Prince Philip’s death has left ‘giant-sized hole’ in royal family, says Sophie Wessex

Prince Philip's death has left a "giant-sized hole" in the Royal Family, his daughter-in-law Sophie has admitted, two months after his funeral.

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, said the grieving process had been drawn out because coronavirus meant they had not returned to normality, and that they would continue to notice his absence as they get back to doing things they would have done with him.

She told Radio 5 Live: "Well, he’s left a giant-sized hole in our lives. 

"I think, unfortunately, the pandemic has slightly skewed things, inasmuch as it’s hard to spend as much time with the Queen as we would like to. We’ve been trying to, but of course it’s still not that easy.

"And of course the normal way of things isn’t normal yet, so we’re not necessarily doing the things that we would normally have done with him.

"So I think the whole grieving process is probably likely, for us, to take a lot longer. It may be the same for many other families out there."

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, spoke to Naga Munchetty about missing her father-in-law Prince Philip. (Royal Family)
Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, spoke to Naga Munchetty about missing her father-in-law Prince Philip. (Royal Family)

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She added: "It’s only when you would do the normal things that you would have done with them, and you suddenly realise that they are not there, that you really start to have an 'Oh my goodness' moment."

Prince Philip died at Windsor Castle on 9 April at the age of 99. He had been back at the castle for a few weeks having been in two different hospitals for four weeks, being treated for an infection and a pre-existing heart condition.

His funeral was held at the castle on 17 April, with social distancing measures in place, and only 30 mourners gathered.

She said: "We were lucky enough to go to Scotland for half term, and I don't know if you remember the picture I took, but I was pregnant with Louise at the time.

"We went up there, and just to be there in that place, was an 'oh my god' moment. I think they will come and go. You have to let them come, and let them go."

RETRANSMITTING AMENDING EMBARGO TIME TO 2200 FRIDAY APRIL 16 MANDATORY CREDIT: The Countess of Wessex. Not for use after December 31, 2021. NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE (including any use in merchandising, advertising or any other non-editorial use including, for example, calendars, books and supplements). This photograph is provided to you strictly on condition that you will make no charge for the supply, release or publication of it and that these conditions and restrictions will apply (and that you will pass these on) to any organisation to whom you supply it. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published. The photograph shall not be used after 31st December 2021, without prior permission from Buckingham Palace. Any questions relating to the use of the photograph should be first referred to Buckingham Palace before publication. Handout image released by Buckingham Palace on 16/04/21 of a personal photograph of the Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at the top of the Coyles of Muick, taken by The Countess of Wessex in 2003. Issue date: Friday April 16, 2021.
Sophie referenced this photo of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the top of the Coyles of Muick, which the Countess of Wessex took in 2003. (Countess of Wessex)
Sophie was speaking to highlight issues of sexual violence in conflict. (Royal Family)
Sophie was speaking to highlight issues of sexual violence in conflict. (Royal Family)

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She also revealed his support of Louise and her love of carriage driving, which he was passionate about.

She said: "He was so pleased when she took it up because I took it up... I was OK, and I was at the beginning of my carriage driving career when I fell pregnant with Louise, and so I had to hang up the reins.

"So I was delighted when she decided she wanted to have a go.

"My father-in-law was always so good at encouraging her, he was so encouraging of Louise, not only when she said 'please can I have a go' but then when she showed a flair for it. 

"He was brilliant with her, they used to chat away about it. He would always turn up if she was competing in the Great Park, and her training days."

Sophie said her daughter had inherited his passion and curiosity for it, but did not comment when interviewer Naga Munchetty mentioned that she had inherited the late duke's carriages.

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 12: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Lady Louise Windsor takes part in 'The Champagne Laurent-Perrier Meet of the British Driving Society' on day 5 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 12, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Lady Louise Windsor taking part in carriage driving at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park in May 2019. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
The two women spoke on Tuesday, nearly two months after the funeral of Prince Philip. (Royal Family)
The two women spoke on Tuesday, nearly two months after the funeral of Prince Philip. (Royal Family)

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The countess has previously spoken about being close to the Queen and the late Philip, reflecting once on being able to go to have tea with her when she was at Windsor, because their home of Bagshot Park is about 10 miles away.

Sophie was one of those who was at Philip's bedside when he died, and spoke about it in the days before the funeral, saying: "It was like someone took him by the hand, and then he went.

"Very, very peaceful, and that's all you want for somebody, isn't it?"

Sophie was speaking to Radio 5 Live as part of her work with survivors of sexual violence in conflict. 

She reaffirmed her commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda and the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative during the interview.

Sophie is married to Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son, and they have two children – Lady Louise Windsor, who is 17 and James, the Viscount Severn, who is 13.

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